Saturday, December 24, 2005

FIND THE SUBTEXT(s): "Immigrants find opportunity in ruined New Orleans"

See previous posts Gulf Coast Slaves, Katrina Three Months Later, "This is turning into the ethnic cleansing of New Orleans".

(Immigrants find opportunity in ruined New Orleans) on Yahoo news.

"NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Much of New Orleans lies abandoned and destroyed after Hurricane Katrina struck nearly four months ago, but for Latin American immigrants the storm-ravaged city has become a land of opportunity.

While New Orleans residents are slow to return, the immigrants, most of them illegally in the United States, have swarmed in to do the hard work of cleaning up and rebuilding that others so far have shunned. (This sounds familiar doesn't it? The narrative of black "laziness," [Isn't this what Vincente Fox articulated when he said that Mexican immigrants do the work that even "the blacks" won't do], black expectations of a handout, the erasure of black labor. Oh, and note the use of the word swarmed.)

They are not here because of altruism -- New Orleans is just another place in a strange land to them -- but because there is a huge unfulfilled demand for labor and, as a result, high wages they cannot get in their homeland or in other U.S. cities. (What about those (who shunned the work) who are prohibited from returning home?) (more)

Inhuman humans, always.

Friday, December 23, 2005

More on FX's Black.White

See an earlier post: BLACK LIKE ME? SOUL SISTER? NO. 'Black.White'

Check out the promotional 'Black.White' video on FX .

Thursday, December 22, 2005

"The Subject impossible to Rape"

Like JDean at I cite I also thought of Zizek and the "Subject Supposed to Loot and Rape" when I heard this (More Stories Emerge of Rapes in Post-Katrina Chaos) on NPR yesterday.

"Female victims, now displaced from New Orleans, are slowly coming forward with a different story than the official one. Two national crime-victims' groups have reported a spike in the number of reported rapes that happened to storm evacuees. The numbers are not dramatic, but they are significant when seen in light of the official number of post-Katrina rapes and attempted rapes: four. [...]

A Victim's Story

One of the victims is Ms. Lewis, a 46-year-old home health-care worker from New Orleans East, who asked that her first name not be used. She sits on the edge of a bed in a dingy, dimly lit room in a motel in Baton Rouge.

Lewis says she was raped on Monday, Aug. 29, the day of the storm. The account of her rape was verified by a trained forensic nurse at Earl K. Long Hospital in Baton Rouge, where Lewis sought treatment.

Lewis and others had taken refuge in the Redemption Elderly Apartments, in the Irish Channel section of New Orleans. On that first night after the storm, the city had lost power, and she was sleeping in a dark hallway, trying to catch a breeze. It was there, she says, that an unknown man with a handgun sexually assaulted her. She insists other women were raped in the same apartment building over the next four nights, but her claim could not be checked out.

"Some bad things happened, you know. There was nobody there to protect you," Lewis says.

Recalling her attack, she sobs, "They just left us to die. Nobody cared."

After her rape, Lewis says, there were no clinics open, so she washed herself with bleach. "All I could do was pray, pray for rescue, pray that I didn't have any type of transmitted disease," she says. (more)

So have these subjects violated themselves? Are they, like enslaved women, incapable of being raped?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

On the Riots in France

For those whose French is much better than mine. A piece by Achille Mbembe (On the Postcolony) at (chimurenga)

"Malheureusement, la vieillesse à elle seule ne rend, ni les peuples, ni les États nécessairement plus raisonnables. En fait, chaque vieille culture cache toujours, derrière le masque de la raison et de la civilité, une face nocturne – un énorme réservoir d’obscures pulsions qui, à l’occasion, peuvent s’avérer meurtrières.

En Occident, le point de fixation de cette face nocturne et de ce réservoir de pulsions a toujours été la race – cette Bête dont la république française, dans son souci parfois aveugle d’universalité, a toujours refusé, pas toujours à tort, d’admettre l’existence. Parlant précisément de la race, la philosophe juive Hannah Arendt avait raison de proclamer qu’elle représentait l’ultime frontière au-delà de laquelle le politique en tant que tel n’avait, strictement parlant, plus aucun sens. N’avait-elle pas vu comment l’Allemagne, dans les années 1930-1940, mit en place des camps de concentration dans le but d’en finir une fois pour toutes avec « la question juive ». La France, heureusement, n’en est pas là. (more)


On Alternet "A Time to Impeach"

"When the U.S. Senate last Friday refused to renew the liberticidal Patriot Act -- with its provisions for spying on Americans' use of libraries and the Internet, among other Constitution-shredding provisions of that iniquitous law -- it was in part because that morning's New York Times had revealed how Bush and his White House had committed a major crime. [...] Bush not only acknowledged, and defended, this illegal eavesdropping in a Saturday radio address, he went further in a Monday morning press conference, saying he'd "suggested" it. But as Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold -- who, together with conservative Idaho Republican Larry Craig, led the filibuster that defeated the Patriot Act's renewal -- said this weekend, "This is not how our democratic system of government works--the president does not get to pick and choose which laws he wants to follow." (more)

On counterpunch "Nothing New About NSA Spying on Americans"

"The big puzzle is why anyone is shocked that President Bush eavesdropped on Americans. The National Security Agency for decades has routinely monitored the phone calls and telegrams of thousands of Americans. The rationale has always been the same, and Bush said it again in defending his spying, that it was done to protect Americans from foreign threat or attack. The named targets in the past have been Muslim extremists, Communists, peace activists, black radicals, civil rights leaders, and drug peddlers. [...] There was a huge warning sign in 2002 that government agencies would jump deeper into the domestic spy business. President Bush scrapped the old 1970s guidelines that banned FBI spying on domestic organizations. The directive gave the FBI carte blanche authority to surveill, and plant agents in churches, mosques, and political groups, and ransack the Internet to hunt for potential subversives, without the need or requirement to show probable cause of criminal wrongdoing. The revised Bush administration spy guidelines, along with the anti-terrorist provisions of the Patriot Act, also gave local agents even wider discretion to determine what groups or individuals they can investigate and what tactics they can use to investigate them. The FBI wasted little time in flexing its new found intelligence muscle. It mounted a secret campaign to monitor and harass Iraq war protestors in Washington D.C. and San Francisco in October 2003. (more)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Is there a gift shop?

All tours end at the gift shop. holocaust museum, slave plantation tour, robben island. "New Orleans Company to Offer Disaster Tours" (yahoo news)

By JANET McCONNAUGHEY, Associated Press Writer Thu Dec 15, 4:45 PM ET
NEW ORLEANS - For $35 per person — $28 for children — a New Orleans company is offering bus tours of some of the city's most misery-stricken spots, including the Superdome, the Convention Center and neighborhoods ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Residents disagree over whether the tours are crass and morbid exploitation, or a good way to help people grasp the enormity of the disaster and keep public attention focused on New Orleans' plight.

The three-hour tours, called "Hurricane Katrina — America's Worst Castastrophe," were announced last week by Gray Line New Orleans, with the first one set for Jan. 4.

"It's a catastrophe that happened here and I just think that people need to be a little more considerate," said Nakia James, who lived in the devastated Ninth Ward.

But restaurant owner Roland Adams, tearing up the ruined oak flooring from his Lakeview living room, said it is great that tour guides have been told to explain the origins of the disaster, including deficient levees and other human errors.

"It's like an awareness program," he said.

The buses will start at the edge of the French Quarter, then drive past the Superdome and Convention Center, where thousands suffered in the heat for days without food or water. The tour also may include the destroyed marina and neighborhoods like the flooded Lakefront, Gentilly and eastern New Orleans areas.

Company vice president Gary Hoffman said he intends to show "the utmost sensitivity" to those whose homes were destroyed. After all, he said, they include about 60 percent of the company's 65 pre-Katrina employees, including himself.

The company will give $3 per ticket to Katrina-related charities, he said. The tours will use major thoroughfares only and employ minibuses rather than big tour coaches, Hoffman said. Smaller streets and the Ninth Ward will not be part of the tour because "that would be too intrusive," he said.

Hoffman said he was less than enthusiastic when his wife and tour guides suggested a Katrina tour: "I said, `No. It's morbid. We're not trying to satisfy the desires of people who want to come here for the sake of looking at devastation.'"

But, he said, he came to realize that news coverage cannot fully convey the damage.

"Congressmen and people from outside this area, they only understand it, they only get it, when they see it," Hoffman said. "If we're going to help New Orleans rebuild, we want people who visit New Orleans to see what happened, to see what devastation it's caused."

New Orleans resident Christopher Colley agreed with that: "Film and media only go so far." (more)

From ICite: "You got issues with unchecked power?"

J Dean over at (icite)

"This post features highlights from Bush's press conference today. (The best part is near the bottom). But, first, a little context. From Brian Land's review of The Third Reich in Power, 1933-1939 by Richard J. Evan's in yesterday's New York Times Book Review."

Before the war, Evans explains, Germany underwent a brutal and chilling transformation. Behind a facade of legality, the Nazis dismantled the established protections of law. Not satisfied merely to crush a lively if troubled democracy, they used their police state and the mass media to dissolve traditional allegiances. Replacing most forms of organized social life with new, Nazi-themed activities, they left citizens with no place to share heretical thoughts. The result was a nightmare version of a normal modern society, with popular entertainment manipulating public enthusiasms and hatreds, and the government intruding into intimate matters of the mind and body while demanding an end to the coddling of the weak.

Bush today:

As President and Commander-in-Chief, I have the constitutional responsibility and the constitutional authority to protect our country. Article II of the Constitution gives me that responsibility and the authority necessary to fulfill it. And after September the 11th, the United States Congress also granted me additional authority to use military force against al Qaeda.

Q Democrats have said that you have acted beyond law, and that you have even broken the law. There are some Republicans who are calling for congressional hearings and even an independent investigation. Are you willing to go before members of Congress and explain this eavesdropping program? And do you support an independent investigation?

THE PRESIDENT: We have been talking to members of the United States Congress. We have met with them over 12 times... And we've explained the authorities under which I'm making our decisions, and will continue to do so. (more)

NY Times holds story about domestic spying

On Democracy Now

MARTIN GARBUS: Well, I think it's the first time in a while that the Times has done something like that, and I compared it to the Pentagon Papers case, when they went ahead and they ignored what the government said. Here the government had meetings with the New York Times.

AMY GOODMAN: Stop for a moment, for kids who are listening who don't even know what the Pentagon Papers are.

MARTIN GARBUS: The Pentagon Papers were documents that ultimately Daniel Ellsberg released. They were secret documents which indicated and gave information about our involvement in Korea and North Vietnam, in both those wars. And those documents released, the government then tried to stop the publication of those papers. The New York Times and the Washington Post both went ahead and published those stories. The government, at that time, made the claim that our foreign policy would be affected, and that particular individuals or many individuals would be killed because of the release of secret information. And the Times and the Washington Post ignored that.

What we’ve recently seen is both the New York Times and the Washington Post have taken a totally different tack. The Washington Post, when it wrote about the secret prisons, was asked by the government not to give the locations of those secret prisons, and the Washington Post acceded to that. The New York Times, for one -- at least one year, held up the publication of this story, and had this story come out in 2002, 2003, 2004, probably the politics in the country would be very, very different. And the New York Times had meetings with the government, and according to the New York Times, they made an investigation, and they concluded what there were legal safeguards in effect that permitted the government's policy. (more)

ADDITION "Bush Secretly Lifted Some Limits on Spying in U.S. After 9/11, Officials Say" (more)

On the Wilmington Race Riot

The Subject (thanks KGH) of Charles Chesnutt's The Marrow of Tradition.

By John DeSantis in NY Times "North Carolina City Confronts Its Past in Report on White Vigilantes"

"WILMINGTON, N.C., Dec. 18 - Beneath canopies of moss-draped oaks, on sleepy streets graced by antebellum mansions, tour guides here spin stories of Cape Fear pirates and Civil War blockade-runners for eager tourists.

Only scant mention is made, however, of the bloody rioting more than a century ago during which black residents were killed and survivors banished by white supremacists, who seized control of the city government in what historians say is the only successful overthrow of a local government in United States history.

But last week, Wilmington revisited that painful history with the release of a draft of a 500-page report ordered by the state legislature that not only tells the story of the Nov. 10, 1898, upheaval, but also presents an analysis of its effects on black families that persist to this day. (more)

From (yahoo) "Report Calls 1898 N.C. Riot an Insurrection"

"WILMINGTON, N.C. - Violence in 1898 that resulted in the only known forceful overthrow of a city government in U.S. history has historically been called a race riot but actually was an insurrection that white supremacists had planned for months, a state commission concludes.

The violence in Wilmington, which resulted in the deaths of an unknown number of black people, "was part of a statewide effort to put white supremacist Democrats in office and stem the political advances of black citizens," the 1898 Wilmington Riot Commission concludes in a draft report.

Afterward, white supremacists in state office passed laws that disfranchised blacks until the civil rights movement and Voting Rights Act of the 1960s. (more)